First Sabbath Offering Information
The offering collected in Sabbath School on Sabbath the 6th of August will go to the GC Education Department to assist with the ongoing development of a kindergarten to 12th grade curriculum.
Below are a few points regarding the project.
What is being developed?
The General Conference Education Department is preparing an entire kindergarten to 12th grade curriculum, with the focus on educating children for the honour and glory of God.
What format will it use?
Rather than grades we use the term “levels” to distinguish subjects by grade, “units” to correspond to an academic month, and “lessons” to correspond to an academic week.
For a full year subject (for example, Math for level 3) there are always 10 units with 4 lessons per unit. A smaller subject (for example, Art for level 3) has five units with 4 lessons per unit.
Rather than printing large textbooks, each Unit with its 4 lessons is available as one printable document. A teacher’s answer key is then separately available to be printed and used by the school teacher. In the future, these will be expanded to include extra teaching notes, additional assignment ideas, etc.
How much will the curriculum cost to use?
All of our materials will be offered free to anyone who wishes to use them. Church education departments and schools in the various countries would have free access to the materials, which they can use as best fits in their local context.
This is a ministry to provide educational materials, not a for-profit business. We will copyright the materials only to ensure that someone does not reprint them for profit.
How will it be distributed?
The curriculum will be distributed online in electronic format. This allows us to make materials available as soon as needed, and means they will be available to anyone to use.
As an example, the church has an on-demand printer in Angola that will make it possible for them to make only as many as needed for any class in a given school year or even one copy for a family that want a printed copy, or the family or church/school can print as many as they want themselves locally.
Since we are not mass-printing materials we can also have updated editions as frequently as we make them.
When will it be available?
Right now we have manuscripts mostly for math, but we have people working on various subjects and levels. Once we have a few more manuscripts ready, we will be moving on to design and branding.
We are not waiting for the complete curriculum to be finished before starting to make the materials available. Instead, we will post each textbook as it is ready.
We have worked with a number of professional educators in our church to have the curriculum as a complete program outline. With that framework in place, whatever materials we produce will be made available right away for use and then we will add more as we are able.
What about localisation and translation into other languages?
The format we have chosen allows us to easily make locally-applicable materials. The history curriculum is made to adapt to the country of the student’s origin rather than simply an American-focused social studies program.
We also plan to have the material translated as available so that it can be used anywhere. This will not just be in major languages like Spanish and French, but local languages like Bahasa Indonesia, Kinyarwanda, Tamil, etc. There are already a host of volunteers who have signed up to do this. As soon as any of the materials are available in the base language (English) we will make it available to these approved translators, and then make the translations available for free.
Will the General Conference provide education support services, transcripts, etc?
The General Conference Education Department will not be providing teachers who monitor students or give diplomas, etc. A local church, unit, or mission may do this, and we would encourage them to use our materials.
Does this project intend to replace Christian home school curriculum that is already available?
This is a General Conference project that is intended to benefit the whole world, especially the missions who are in the most need. It is not our intent to compete with any existing home school curriculum programs that service first-world English countries.
The vast majority of our membership, even English-speaking membership, is not in countries where existing materials are even remotely affordable. As a result, our schools in the developing world use a patchwork of materials, often without proper permissions and from whatever sources they can, Christian or not, to piece together a program for their schools.
Our open-source free materials will greatly improve the quality of education these schools offer, and increase the marketability of these programs to generate revenues for the schools of our church in the impoverished and developing world.
If home-school families choose to use the program, when completed, that will be wonderful, but not the main purpose of this project. In fact, it is anticipated that many home-schoolers will continue to make their own choices regarding what curriculum materials they use, but may choose to use our materials for selected subjects, such as Bible or Church History.
How can I help with the project?
You can help by giving generously when the First Sabbath Offering is collected on August 6th, 2022. Your donation will help to cover the cost of design, branding, and digital production of the materials.
Furthermore, if you know of anyone who might want to help develop curriculum subjects, please contact the GC Education Department director, Brother David Zic, at firstname.lastname@example.org.